20s-30s / K-L / Poems in Korean Middle School Textbooks / Poetry Translation

Like Sunshine Whispering to a Stone Wall – Kim Yeongrang

Like Sunshine Whispering to a Stone Wall

Kim Yeongrang (1903-1950)

Like the sunshine whispering to a stone wall
Like the spring water grinning beneath grass
Today, I long to look up the sky all day
Calmly, on a beautiful spring street.

Like shyness rising on a bride’s cheeks
Like waves gently moistened in a lyric’s heart
I long to gaze at the silken sky
Where a soft emerald finely flows.

(Translated by Jido Ahn. January 2016)


learn more about the poet: Kim Yeongrang (1903-1950)

돌담에 속삭이는 햇발같이

김영랑 (1903-1950)

돌담에 속삭이는 햇발같이
풀 아래 웃음 짓는 샘물같이
내 마음 고요히 고운 봄 길 위에
오늘 하루 하늘을 우러르고 싶다.

새악시 볼에 떠오는 부끄럼같이
시의 가슴에 살포시 젖는 물결같이
보드레한 에머럴드 얇게 흐르는
실비단 하늘을 바라보고 싶다.


The poet is also known as Kim Yongnang or Kim Yeongrang.
Although ㄹ of 랑 should be spelled with “r,” his name is often spelled with “n” because 랑 sounds closer to “nang” when it’s pronounced after 영 (Yeong).

Kim played a leading role in pure lyricism movement in Korea. He thought poems should focus on the linguistic beauty rather than a political or social purpose. This poem is an epitome of this view. At first, the poet heavily uses soft consonants (ㄴ,ㄹ,ㅁ,ㅂ [n,r,m,b]) to soften the tone of the poem. Secondly, the first stanza and the second stanza ends with the same words except for line 3 and 7 (같이, 같이, x, 싶다  [gachi, gachi, x, shipda). Lastly, the poem has a clear and definite rhythm. Unfortunately most of these cannot be translated because of the difference between Korean and English.

This poem appears in 7th grade Korean textbook. As far as I know, this is the first poem students learn about schools of poetic styles, not just about the poem itself.


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